Sixteen migrant labourers were crushed to death early on Friday by a goods train in Maharashtra after they fell asleep on the tracks. The home-bound exhausted lot of workers were run over between Jalna and Aurangabad.
A senior railway official confirmed that 17 migrant labourers were run over by the goods train running in the Nanded Division of South Central Railway.
The incident happened around 5.30 a.m. when the migrants, who were on their way back to their homes fell asleep on the railway tracks.
The official said that an empty petroleum tanker train was proceeding from Cherlapalli in Telangana to Paniwadi, near Manmad in Maharashtra. "After passing Badnapur station, the locopilot saw some people on the tracks and tried to control it and sounded the horn also, but by the time he could do, it was too late," South Central spokesperson Rakesh told IANS.
According to information the workers were walking to Bhusawal from Jalna, and further onward to Madhya Pradesh. Rakesh said these people were lying on the tracks. An enquiry has been ordered by the Commissioner, Railway Safety.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced Rs 5 lakhs as ex-gratia to families of the deceased.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the deaths on Twitter: "Extremely anguished by the loss of lives due to the rail accident in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. Have spoken to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and he is closely monitoring the situation. All possible assistance required is being provided."
Railway Minister also tweeted: "Today received a saddening news of labourers sleeping on railway tracks run over by a goods train at 5.22 a.m. in Nanded division between Karnad and Badnapur railway station. Relief work is on and an enquiry has been ordered. I pray for the those who lost their lives."
Amid the nationwide lockdown, thousands of migrant workers stranded in several other cities have been on an unending toil to return to their native places on foot.
The interstate bus service, passenger, mail and express train services have been suspended since March 24.
The Railways has started running Shramik Special trains to transport the stranded migrants to their native places since May 1. Till Thursday railways has run 201 Shramik Special trains.